Menzies College

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School Context

Menzies College is a Years 7 to 13 secondary school situated in Wyndam, a semi-rural town in Eastern Southland. Students attend from the wide rural surrounding area, the majority travelling by bus. The school roll is steadily increasing. There are increasing proportions of Māori and Filipino students. Some of the latter are English language learners.

The school’s vision is for each student to be a lifelong learner, positively contribute to whānau and the global society; to know from learning, to connect from experiencing, and to challenge from dreaming. Its valued outcomes for its learners are for them to have integrity through showing respect, striving for excellence, and feeling safe.

To achieve the vision and valued outcomes for learners, the school has six strategic pillars as its basis for planning and direction setting. These link to areas of stewardship, equity and excellence, powerful connections, a responsive curriculum, and building professional capability and capacity from inquiry and studentship. The focus is on raising achievement, teaching in a supportive learning environment, building reciprocal relationships with parents, whānau and the wider community, ensuring effective opportunities to learn, building professional capability of staff, and working together to raise achievement and engagement.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in all learning areas in relation to levels of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC)
  • progress and achievement where their learning has been targeted for acceleration
  • senior achievement in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA)
  • attendance
  • aspects of wellbeing
  • key competencies of the NZC.

Some of the trustees on the board are new to their role, as is the board chair. Since the 2015 ERO review, the senior leadership team is unchanged. There have been some changes in teaching staff.

Menzies College is a member of the Lower Mataura Valley Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning. The principal is a co-leader within this.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is working very positively towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for its students.

NCEA achievement for students in Years 11 to 13 shows that between 2016 and 2018:

  • two thirds of students achieved Levels 1 and 3 at their year level
  • over three quarters of students achieved Level 2
  • an increasing proportion of school leavers achieved Level 2 (76% in 2018)
  • almost all students achieved Level 1 literacy and numeracy as they progressed through the senior school.

Overall, and throughout the school, there is a pattern of greater proportions of girls achieving at various levels, than boys. Girls’ achievement of NCEA reflects this pattern. The board, leaders and teachers have identified that the achievement of boys, including some Māori boys, needs to be raised.

The school’s achievement information shows that most Years 8 to 10 students progressed one curriculum level with their peer group, in science.

Most students in Year 10 in 2018 achieved the school’s expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Similar proportions of Year 9 students achieved this in reading and writing. Between 2016 and 2018 the school can show an increasing trend in achievement in reading and writing for Year 10 students.

Overall, levels of student attendance are good. Almost all students report that they feel they have a strong sense of belonging to Menzies College.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is increasingly effective in accelerating the learning for those Māori and other students who need this.

In 2018, two thirds of the targeted Year 12 boys achieved NCEA Level 2 through an intensive mentoring programme that accelerated their learning and continued participation in schooling.

Over half of the Years 9 and 10 students targeted for acceleration in reading and writing in 2018 were successful.

Information about rates of progress for students in Years 7 and 8 was not clear. Since the onsite stage of the review the school has provided further analysis of this information. This should in future help leaders and teachers to better determine and evaluate the sufficiency of students’ progress.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Students benefit from a broad and responsive curriculum that deliberately meets individual needs, interests and future career or vocational pathways. Curriculum design and teaching and learning approaches are often set in real-world contexts, practical, and emphasise building positive attitudes and relevant skills.

The school has a very caring and inclusive culture where whanaungatanga and manaakitanga are strongly evident. This contributes to positive relationships at all levels, and to student engagement. Leaders and teachers know their students very well as individuals and as learners. There are deliberate structures in place to build and maintain this positive school culture.

Leaders and teachers effectively use learning information to meet students’ needs and strengths. Teachers are gathering and sharing a wider range of information. There are sound systems to identify, track and monitor students at risk with their learning and wellbeing. Increasingly, teachers make good use of learning information when evaluating and or inquiring into the effectiveness of courses and programmes, teaching strategies and outcomes for students.

Very strong and purposeful partnerships contribute directly to students’ learning, engagement and wellbeing. The school works closely with its local community to support, enrich and extend students’ learning. This includes the Hokonui Runanga and schools in the local Kāhui Ako. Leaders and teachers have strengthened communication with whānau about students’ wellbeing, successes, progress and achievement.

School leaders model an unrelenting focus on supporting all students to be successful in their learning and life. To help achieve this, they have built strong relational trust throughout the school and with the wider community. Leaders actively support collaboration, risk taking and receptiveness to change and improvement. They ensure strategic priorities for development are kept to the fore and have put in place sound practices and processes to build teacher capability. Leaders are very reflective, and improvement focused.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The school has responded positively to the recommendations of the 2015 ERO review with respect to information about student achievement. The board, leaders and teachers are now better placed to inquire more deeply into individual and groups of students’ rates and sufficiency of progress. This should include exploring further ways of evaluating how well the school is achieving its valued outcomes for its learners.

Deepening teaching inquiries to identify what is likely to have the greatest impact on accelerating student achievement, and sharing this information with other teachers, parents and students is a next step to contribute to improving outcomes for learners. The use of moderation to ensure consistency of assessment judgements in literacy and mathematics in Years 7 and 8 should clarify the achievement and acceleration picture for these groups.

Internal evaluation practices within the school should continue to be extended. Adopting a schoolwide framework may help leaders and teachers to develop a shared understanding of this process. New initiatives and programmes need to be systematically evaluated for effectiveness. There needs to be a coherent pathway for sharing of what the school finds works to raise student achievement and accelerate their progress.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to theEducation (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

4 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board and principal of the school completed the ERO board assurance statement and self-audit checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • finance
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

Based on the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Menzies College’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • a rich and varied curriculum that empowers students as learners
  • a positive and caring culture that supports students’ wellbeing and engagement
  • sound systems and processes to identify, monitor and support students to achieve
  • productive partnerships which contribute to a wide variety of learning experiences for students
  • effective leadership that prioritises positive outcomes for students and staff.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • extending the use of student achievement information to reliably evaluate progress and success for students
  • strengthening and broadening internal evaluation to clearly find out and share what affects positive changes and outcomes for learners.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

7 October 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7 -13)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 51%, Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 27%
NZ European/Pākehā 66%
Asian 6%
Other ethnic groups 1%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

July 2019

Date of this report

7 October 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review May 2015
Education Review October 2011


Students interact positively across the age ranges. They engage well in their learning. They appreciate the way staff work to make learning interesting and challenging. Teachers are planning how to lift levels of achievement where accelerated improvement is needed. Senior students achieve well and actively plan for success beyond school.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Menzies College is a rural Years 7 to 13 school. Many students travel to school by bus.

Students know each other well and interact positively across the age ranges. The school’s values are well known and are evident in the way students interact with one another. Students appreciate the way staff work to make learning interesting and challenging. Students show very high levels of participation in sporting and other school activities. This contributes to the way they engage positively in their learning. Students’ successes across a wide range of types of achievement are valued and celebrated.

Over the last three years the school’s culture has been strengthened and improved. Students benefit from a positive, settled and caring school environment. They show pride in their school. They learn in classes where there is a strong focus on learning. Students enjoy the wide range of curriculum opportunities and the fun they have participating in these. Opportunities to show leadership are appreciated by students, particularly in the senior school. Students who have higher needs are well supported in their learning and wellbeing. They are well integrated into the life of the school.

The school has made progress in addressing the areas identified for review and development in the 2011 ERO report. ERO has identified, and the school agrees, that there is further work to do to:

  • track all students’ progress
  • make and report overall-teacher judgements against the National Standards
  • raise achievement for some students
  • clarify and document the school’s expectations for teaching and learning.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The school will be better placed to know more about students’ learning, achievement and progress when trustees, leaders and teachers make better use of student achievement information. This is particularly the case for students in Years 7 to 10. School-wide achievement information shows that:

  • senior students’ achievement is improving significantly in NCEA
  • a greater proportion of students are leaving school with Level 2 NCEA
  • just over half the students in Years 7 and 8 were at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics by end of 2014.

Students know what they need to learn and what they need to do to achieve their goals. Years 7 and 8 students understand what they are learning, what success will look like, and they benefit from evaluating how successful they are in their learning. Students in Years 11 to 13 have a good understanding of their progress in relation to their goals and reflect on these frequently with teachers’ help. The specific focus that staff place on mentoring and monitoring students in the senior school is a strength. This process is now being introduced to the junior school as well.

Next steps for leaders and teachers include to:

  • recognise the need for urgency in responding to the reported low levels of achievement in reading, writing and mathematics in Years 7 and 8
  • strengthen the analysis of achievement and progress information by leaders with teachers to better understand the need for accelerated progress
  • plan specific teaching strategies and interventions to accelerate the progress of targeted students and groups of students
  • monitor the rate of progress of targeted students and groups
  • strengthen the evaluation of the impact of strategies to accelerate students’ progress.

Parents receive information about how well their child in Years 7 or 8 is achieving in relation to the curriculum levels. The next step is to report in plain language where the student is achieving in relation to each National Standard, and consider placing the focus at mid-year on progress towards end-of-year expectations.

Trustees receive information about student achievement. They ask evaluative questions about how well students are being supported to make the necessary progress and what else can be done to accelerate progress. School leaders and trustees have set targets to improve achievement at Years 7 and 8 for 2015.

The next step for trustees is to:

  • Require interim reports about progress against the annual achievement targets.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The school’s curriculum positively promotes students’ learning. ERO noted a strong focus on the school’s values of being safe, showing respect and striving for excellence.

Staff members prioritise the importance of positive relationships to support the wellbeing of students and to build a sound foundation for learning.

Students benefit from a wide range of interesting, engaging, relevant experiences to support and enrich their learning. This wide range includes purposeful trips at several year levels.

The curriculum for individual senior students is highly personalised and flexible. Senior students’ curriculum needs are well supported. They plan for their future beyond school by selecting course options that link well with their vocational pathways of interest and choice. Students receive useful support as they transition out of the school. The school can show that the senior curriculum effectively engages students in their learning. It promotes achievement and helps students make positive progress.

Teachers’ curriculum development has included a strong focus on strengthening teaching. This has been done by targeted professional learning and development. It has been well linked to teachers’ appraisal and the way they inquire into their practice. Together, these have contributed to making learning more engaging for students.

Students benefit from regular written feedback from teachers about their progress towards their goals. They can confidently talk about what they enjoy in their learning, what helps them learn including what teachers do to help. Students feel that if they are having challenges with their learning they will get help. They appreciate the way teachers gather their opinions about the aspects of teaching that work for them and how teachers respond to make learning better.

Next step

Leaders should consider evaluating and reporting to the board how well specific aspects of the curriculum across the school support students’ learning.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school is developing the ways leaders and teachers support Māori students to experience aspects of their identity, language and culture in school life and in their learning.

Māori students are increasingly positively engaged in learning and the wider life of the school.

Senior leaders and teachers have benefited from their involvement in a professional development programme. They focused explicitly on improving culturally responsive leadership and teacher practices to help Māori learners enjoy educational success as Māori. The opinions and ideas of Māori students are sought, valued and responded to. Māori students at Menzies College know their culture is valued and respected in the life of the school.

A Māori trustee has a passion for increasing the understanding of Te Ao Māori in the school and is providing effective support to trustees, leaders, teachers and students. The core concepts of manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, tuakana-teina and rangatiratanga are a natural part of the way things are done at the school.

The school is placing a greater emphasis on providing opportunities for all students to learn and engage in Māori cultural performances and activities.

The principal reported to whānau and the Māori community in 2013 about Māori students’ success, their aspirations, and engagement in school.

The next steps are to:

  • build on the good levels of engagement Māori students have with their learning
  • continue to strengthen the partnership with Māori whānau and community to improve student achievement and increase their rates of progress.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The school has improved its performance in a number of areas since the last ERO report and is now better placed to sustain what is working well and continue to improve its performance.

Senior leaders have useful systems in place to build an increasingly positive school culture. They support teachers to make improvements to their teaching and to students’ learning. Many staff appreciate the culture of collaboration and the support from leaders and trustees. Parents’ and students’ opinions are gathered on a range of topics and responded to well.

The recently strengthened appraisal process for teachers is supporting teachers well to bring about improved outcomes for students.

The next step is to add to leaders’ and teachers’ performance agreements how their efforts should contribute to meeting the school’s annual student achievement targets. They should also evaluate how well these efforts helped students accelerate their progress.

The school is planning to work collaboratively with other schools to share ideas, improve practice and evaluate the impact on students of any new initiatives.

Trustees have useful and well documented processes for governance. The board and principal have a collaborative approach to setting the strategic direction of the school. The board receives reports on how well the strategic plan is being implemented.

The next steps for trustees are to:

  • expect reports they receive about student learning and progress to be a clear summary of how well teaching has had a positive impact on student outcomes and what needs to be done next
  • record the key points of discussions about these reports in board minutes so that progress over time is easily tracked.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review there were no international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it continues to review its compliance with the Code.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed the ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

At the time of the review ERO noted that there was no formal process for police vetting of non-teaching staff or renewing this every three years. The board must ensure the school complies with Ministry of Education requirements for the police vetting of non-teaching staff. (Source: s78C, s78Ca, s78CB Education Act 1989)


Students interact positively across the age ranges. They engage well in their learning. They appreciate the way staff work to make learning interesting and challenging. Teachers are planning how to lift levels of achievement where accelerated improvement is needed. Senior students achieve well and actively plan for success beyond school.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Graham Randell Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

26 May 2015

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Male: 58%

Female: 42%

Ethnic composition









Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

26 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

December 2011
October 2008
April 2006